If you were to walk into my home office the first thing that you might notice is that I have a collection. Oh yes, I have the standard collection of tourist tchotchkes and travel photos, but I also collect a word…BELIEVE. Right now as I glance around my office, I smile at my collection. The most noticeable is a carved wooden sign that sits seven inches high and sprawls across the top of my desk that spells out “BELIEVE”. Over the years good friends started noticing my fondness for this word, so I have been sent various gifts including the word believe, such as an engraved notebook, a rock, a picture frame…okay you get the picture.
Financial counselors always advise taking 10% off the top of your salary and putting it in a savings account for the future. I use this same theory to invest in securing my client’s future business. By providing an unexpected added value, you are showing your appreciation for their business that will develop into a stronger client relationship with all of the loyalties that follow.
- CREATE A BROCHURE FOR YOUR BUSINESS Before you hand out that supplier’s brochure, make sure you hand out a brochure of your own. Use a software program such as Microsoft Publisher and create a brochure about yourself and your business. If you don’t have the Microsoft Publisher software you can go to http://office.microsoft.com/en-gb/templates/default.aspx for the Microsoft Office Template Gallery which offers over 3000 templates for calendars, resumes, greeting cards, business plans and lots more. When putting together your own business brochure, make sure to include the following:
By now I am sure everyone has seen the catchy commercials for Payless Shoe stores. BOGO is “buy one get one half off” at Payless. Previous to the Payless campaign, BOGO was an acronym that was universally known in the marketing industry but rarely presented to customers in this form. Originally, “buy one get one free” was a sudden end-of-season or stock clearance method used by shops who were left with a large quantity of stock that they were looking to sell quickly.
“Buy One, Get One free”, or “Buy one, get one” is a common form of a sales promotion, even now in the travel industry. The two-for-one travel promotions have become quite popular, particularly lately due to the economy. Some cruise lines have marketed sailings such as the “2 for 1 Escape the Economy Sale”. Read the rest of this entry »
What is it?
They are called elevator speeches and are intended to prepare you for very brief, chance encounters in an elevator. But elevator speeches are not just for elevators!
An elevator speech is a short, 15-30 second, approximately 150 word sound bite that succinctly and memorably introduces you. It spotlights your uniqueness as well as focuses on the benefits you provide. This is something that should be delivered effortlessly. And it is an excellent way to market yourself.
So, who better than you to describe with passion, precision, and persuasiveness what you do? A great elevator speech makes a lasting first impression, showcases what you do, and allows you to position yourself for meeting new potential clients. Read the rest of this entry »
Do you remember the last time you started searching for a book or solution to help take your business to the next level? Many times I will gravitate to a book strictly because of the title, which was in the case of Cal Newport’s book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. This book advocates that to be successful we must acquire a skill through professional training and practical experience, rather than pursue our passions.
The book outlines cases of people who pursued their passion, yet regrettably failed achieving business success. According to Newport, they fell short of possessing the necessary business skills to bring their product or service to market.
For any of you who have followed my articles, or read my books, you will know that I believe that you must have a good mixture of not just passion, but also training and experience to build a successful travel business. Where I do agree with the author is that many people who get into selling travel assume that because they enjoy or have a “passion” for traveling themselves that they will really like doing it as a job or career. As much fun and as exciting as traveling is, selling travel, working with finicky clients, and building a business are completely different. Read the rest of this entry »
Utilizing the traditional means of media marketing is more than cost prohibitive for the majority of travel agents. Because of the financial restraints that most of us are under, word of mouth advertising is vital in building new business. For this reason it is important that each new client you get is treated as a VIP, no matter how big or small their trip is. Some of my most lucrative business has come to me as referrals from clients who did very little traveling themselves. You just never know who they may know! Read the rest of this entry »
Although I do not go out after the normal day-to-day corporate travel, I have expanded my travel business into the lucrative incentive and group meeting planning segment. To do this, I had to find ways to work my way into this market even though I knew that I would be competing with the large, established agencies.
SWIM WITH THE BIG FISH
In an effort to expand my home-based agency into this market, I researched and then joined numerous business associations, networking groups, and service organizations. However, it takes a lot more work than paying the membership dues and hanging a plaque on the wall. Read the rest of this entry »
You finally made the decision to go into the travel industry. You want to be a home-based agent, so now you have to think of ways to promote yourself. Hmmm, to who and how? Of course, your first thought is “I’ll send a letter to all of my friends and relatives. I know that they all travel and now I can let them know that they will have a ‘friend in the travel business’”. How exciting! Piece of cake!
Not always… All too often these friends and loved ones become our biggest abusers and constantly try to take advantage of our knowledge and time. Read the rest of this entry »
Nothing is more disheartening having worked for days, delving out advice, building itineraries and providing every aspect of our services to prospective clients, only to have them not book, or even worse, book their trip elsewhere.
As much as we don’t want to admit it, shoppers (often called “tire kickers”) are not a phenomenon exclusive to the travel industry. How many times have you spent the day with a salesperson at a car lot, only to end up buying elsewhere? That where the term “tire kickers” came from. When looking for a special outfit or pair of shoes, how many of us buy at the first store? Most of us want to make sure that we are getting the best value for our money. The key word here is “Value”. Read the rest of this entry »
Imagine yourself in a fine restaurant. Divine table settings, charming atmosphere. Royal Dalton China. Fine crystal stemware. The Maitre d’ offers you the daily special. You uncover the silver cloche… UGH!!! It’s a pile of worms! Grubby – creepy – crawly WORMS!!!
The French may have managed to get us to eat snails under the moniker of “escargots”, but this was beyond ridiculous even if it qualifies as a “Low Carb High Protein” meal! I would never go back to that restaurant, and I believe you wouldn’t either. Read the rest of this entry »